To My First Love: Why I Am In A Better Place Because Of You

Growing up, I always felt like the ugly duckling of my friend group. I always felt like I would never find love because I wasn’t as pretty as the other girls. Prince Charming was only real in the fairy tales I watched in Disney movies. I didn’t know who I was, what I was doing and where I was going next. I was young and naïve. I didn’t think I deserved to be loved.

My first year of college quickly came around. I was in a new place, surrounded by new people, in the Steel City I thought I would never call home.

Then I met you.

From the moment I saw you approaching the empty chair beside me, I knew we’d be together someday. You had a girlfriend at the time, of course, but I knew our time would come, and it did.

I could look back and remind you of all the embarrassing things that happened in between… the drunken nights, embarrassing texts, all of it. But it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that I was the happiest I ever was in the almost year that we dated. That, and that you were the best thing that had ever happened to me – at the time, of course. You made me feel things I had never felt before.

I had never been in love, but I was pretty darn sure this was it. I was the happiest I had ever been because you were mine, and I was yours. I loved every inch of myself because of the love letters you’d written on my skin. Love, in the purest of forms – simple, easy. It reminds me of that one How I Met Your Mother episode we watched when Marshall and Lily talk about how when you find the one, it’s simple, easy. You were my Marshall, and I, your Lily, and that’s all I ever wanted to be. Yours.

Inevitably, our relationship ended. I was drowning in a sea of emotions. I felt everything all at once, and sometimes, nothing at all. I had no appetite, lost an unhealthy amount of weight, failed two classes, and really pissed off some of the best people I know. I had a dark cloud over my head that just never went away. I hated myself. I hated how sad I was and how poorly I treated myself and the people around me.

I waited a long time for you to come around. The How I Met Your Mother hoodie I bought you for your birthday came in the mail. I wasn’t sure what I should do with it, so I kept waiting. I’m not sure what I was waiting for. Maybe I hoped you’d show up at my window with a boombox blasting “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, or maybe I waited for a drunken text. I don’t know. But I stopped, eventually.

I could tell you I was heartbroken, but that would be an understatement. The things I felt inside, I would never want anyone else to experience. It took me a very long time to realize this, but it was a blessing. You know the “everything happens for a reason” cliché you are just so tired of hearing? Yeah, well, it’s true. You may not see this right away but patience is key. Time is a thief I would rob, but it’s what you need to heal even the deepest of wounds.

Maybe you weren’t the one, but you were the one who taught me what it was to love someone unconditionally. It was because of you that I started to learn how to love myself. It’s thanks to you that I now know who I am, and what matters in life.

Breaking up with you was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I was lucky enough to have the best support system and team a girl could ask for. I made new friends and got closer to those who mattered most to me and eventually, I recovered. They brought the noise back into my life, and unleashed my spirit once again.

I’ll never forget how you kissed me in patterns, your slanted smile or the words you once wrote. Those memories will stay with me forever because they are a part of me. I don’t regret any of our firsts and I am thankful for our lasts. I don’t love you anymore because I’m not the person I was when I was with you. I’ve changed and will never be the same. But I do love who I’ve become.

You moved on of course, as did I. Within the month, you started seeing someone new. I truly wish you the best, whether you believe me or not. This may come as a surprise to you, but thank you. Thank you for teaching me to never place the key to your happiness in somebody else’s pocket. Thank you for teaching me that you can’t really love someone until you love yourself. Thank you for the good times, and the bad. Most importantly, I thank you for teaching me that I am my own home.

Featured Image by We Heart It.

17 COMMENTS

    • Hi Emma, I’m so sorry that you’re mistaken. I encourage you to read through this article, it’s actual purpose is to share the story of HOW exactly the author moved on, and how she managed to come out of a dark place stronger, with a deep self-realization and confidence in herself. It has empowered – yep using that word for the fellow below, many girls who share similar experiences (including myself). This article is an extremely positive perspective on an otherwise negative topic and I personally am inspired by the positivity and gracefulness of the writer. Hope you have a chance to actually read the piece, but nonetheless – thanks for clicking and giving her a view!

    • I 100% agree with you, Rachel (Above). Having just gone through this myself, this article is extremely inspiring. I think there is so much negativity surrounding breakup’s and for once someone has shed light on it in a positive way. Life is all about learning, and relationships are an amazing way to learn about love, life, and understanding yourself.

      Breakup’s aren’t easy, but this article proves that whenever life knocks you down you shouldn’t let it destroy you. Breakup’s happen because it just wasn’t working, they shouldn’t be a negative thing. Yes everyone gets hurt in a breakup but that gives us the opportunity to learn and grow as individuals and I think the author did exactly that.

      Emma & Jay, I hope you can take the chance to actually read this article. Clearly the point of the article was that the author is incredibly grateful for the lessons she learned from her relationship and how she grew and moved on from it. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you never have to go through this situation yourself because it isn’t fun. And if you do happen to go through it, I’m sorry that you do. I hope no one criticizes your feelings when it happens.

      This article may not have helped you or inspired you, but it has had a lasting impact on many, including myself. The author has done a beautiful job capturing all the feelings I’ve felt over the past few months and I will forever be grateful that there is someone out there who understands what I’m going through and where I’m headed.

  1. “Thank you for teaching me that you can’t really love someone until you love yourself”

    Those are the words that struck me most of all while reading this, so thank you. I enjoy striking words in a text with equal amount of emotion such as this. I´ve read and heard a lot of similar stories, never the same, though similar and reading a sentence that strikes. It doesn´t happen to me too often anymore and I always enjoy the feeling having to take a moment to say the words in my head a few times looking for the whole of meaning behind them. So thank you.

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